Monday, March 24, 2008
A Smashing Success!
Heather Moore, Josi Kilpack, Julie Wright, Annette Lyon
"A Smashing Success" is the only way to describe the 2008 LDStorymakers Writers Conference.
It was truly amazing. Our keynote speakers, Jamie Weiss Chilton (Andrea Brown Literary), and Timothy Travaglini (G.P. Putnam & Sons) were fantastic. They were funny, kind, and made themselves accessible to everyone.
Other speakers included Jessica Day George (author, Dragon Flight), Brandon Sanderson (author, Elantris), Dave Nibley (comedian and actor), Kirk Shaw (Covenant Editor), Lisa Mangum (Deseret Book Editor), Maryanne Jones (Deseret Book Publicist), Kammie Wrencher (Cedar Fort Editor), Christopher Bigelow (Zarahemla Books Publisher), and Janette Rallison (author, How to Take the Ex out of Ex-Boyfriend).
The rest of the presenters were authors who are members of LDStorymakers.
At the end of the conference, we recognized all of the people on the committee who did an incredible job of bringing everything together:
Then we passed the gauntlet to Jeff Savage, who will be the director for Conference 2009.
Some of the notes I took that might be of interest:
Agent Jamie Weiss Chilton (Andrea Brown Literary) said not to stress over your cover letters. Every submission she receives, she sets the cover letter aside and reads the first pages. If she loves the writing then she'll read the cover letter to find out more about the author.
Senior Editor Tim Travaglini (G.P. Putnam Sons) said that in contrast to the other big publishing houses, Putnam takes unagented submissions. He encouraged the writers to continue working and improving their craft. And to make sure they educated themselves as to which publisher/imprint accepts what genres. He said that it's easier to to submit to junior editors since they are actively seeking new authors. He said to be sure to spell his name right.
Jessica Day George said she received 187 rejections before getting the call from a publisher offering a book contract. Ironically, the next day she received a form rejection letter from the same publisher--which had gone to a different editor and was purged from the slush pile in a big clean sweep.
Brandon Sanderson wrote nine books before getting a publishing contract. He promptly contacted the agent he had established a relationship with at a writers conference.
Kirk Shaw (Covenant editor) and Lisa Mangum (Deseret Book editor) were generous in coming to the conference and holding one-on-one interviews with writers. It's tough for a writer to get in front of a decision maker from a publisher. They added so much value and I was thanked over and over by conference attendees. Each of them also taught workshops and shared their advice for submitting and landing a publishing contract.